JERSEY CITY, NJ — This small group of Filipinos has a big mission. Not only are they planning their organization’s 25th anniversary gala in October, but they are also organizing ways to encourage more votes for Linda Mayo.
Mayo is the founder of the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, or PACCAL, based in Jersey City, and she is one of the ten finalists for the 2017 AARP AAPI Hero awards.
AARP received 61 nominations this year from different states.
Mayo is hoping she gets enough votes to win, not just for her but also for PACCAL.
“I think it will be a recognition of the work that we have done throughout the years,” she said.
The volunteer work with PACCAL began in 1992.
“We had been serving the senior community right from the very beginning, right when we started fighting for equity of WWII veterans.”
It was in the late eighties and early nineties when the number of Filipino residents in Jersey City increased.
“Problems starting to come and they had nowhere to go, and they didn’t know a lot of things, which government agency to approach. Also, there’s that word ‘hiya’ system in the Filipino community that sometimes they are afraid to ask for help.”
Besides her work with PACCAL, Mayo helped bridge that gap by serving as the first Filipino-American woman deputy mayor for Jersey City in 1998, and as the first Fil-Am in Hudson County to be elected to the Jersey City board of education.
These days, Mayo dedicates her time to make sure PACCAL’s human and health services continue, and the prize money of $1,000 from this contest, she says, will certainly help.
Voting is done through the AARP AAPI Facebook page, and votes depend on the number of likes, shares and comments. Voting ends on July 14th.